Why organisations need to keep data at the heart of their innovation

By Madhurima Agarwal|4th May 2020
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One of the key trends in this increasingly connected era we live in, with people moving more and more aspects of their personal and professional lives online, is an exponential growth in the amount of data being generated. It is estimated that nearly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated each day and that in 2020, 1.7MB of data will be generated per second for each person on the planet. Today, while companies like Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google alone have access to about 1.2 million terabytes of data, smaller companies are also realising the advantages that leveraging data can bring to their business, making it a central asset that offers them a significant competitive edge.


Organisations are realising that data, and the ability to organise, visualise, and analyse it is what will set them apart in the race. With a greater need for faster decision cycles; business heads will have to expedite the decision-making process to innovate and adapt to customer needs by relying more on data and actionable insights, and less on hunches.


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This will bring a host of advantages such as increased productivity, lower costs, new revenue streams, and ultimately increased market share. Data-driven innovation (DDI) will help streamline internal processes, create more efficiency, and offer a greater understanding of the market.

Understanding data and innovation

However, some organisations face challenges when it comes to maximising the advantages data-driven innovation can bring. This may stem from a lack of awareness on how to define their own data needs, the lack of resources to tap into data, and the inability to derive insights from it. Another challenge, particularly with smaller organisations, is the lack of cross-utilisation of data across departments. This is where investments need to be made into adopting the right technologies and hiring the right talent and upskilling existing resources to be able to keep up with the latest market trends and demands.


NetApp, as a data-driven technology enterprise, is well-positioned to effectively collaborate with businesses, especially India’s growing startup ecosystem by managing their data from the edge to core to cloud.


Startups are an important part of our economy and the Indian government is also contributing to promoting innovation by formulating policies to encourage entrepreneurship. There is an abundance of opportunities for Indian startups as the government brings in policy reforms to improve ease of business, provide financial support and networking opportunities.

The NetApp advantage

According to a May 2019 report, ‘B2B Tech Startup Ecosystem and Role of Corporate Accelerators in India’ by NetApp and Zinnov, the number of B2B tech startups has more than tripled to over 3,200 from 900, since 2014. Adding fuel to their success is the growing investor interest – the investment in B2B startups touched $3.7 billion in 2018, a steep rise of 364 percent from 2014.


The Indian startup ecosystem has also seen a dramatic increase in corporate engagement. There were over 50 corporate accelerators in India in 2018, with 80 percent of them incepted between 2015 and 2018.


NetApp’s accelerator programme, NetApp Excellerator, has a strong focus on Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence – the top two areas when it comes to startup growth. NetApp's Data Fabric strategy is based on the foundation of seamless and secure movement of data across environments providing full control over data.


The NetApp Excellerator is unique in providing tangible benefits to startups with paid PoCs, market access, investor connects, business and technology mentorship, infrastructure support, etc. Three startups from past cohorts – Adya, ArchSaber and VitaCloud – have been successfully acquired.


The programme is designed to help startups have a key focus on value creation, valuation and subsequent funding which are the most desired outcome for any startup. The startups are graduates of the NetApp flagship accelerator programme and have been extensively mentored to strengthen their customer pitch points, go-to-market strategy while enhancing their user experience to attract more business.

The way ahead

The five startups In NetApp’s fifth cohort – CloudSEK, Senseforth.ai, Lightwing, Coralogix and Curl Analytics – leveraged data as their core technology, which is in line with NetApp’s expertise. According to NetApp, data will fuel Artificial Intelligence (AI), which these startups are leveraging across verticals such as fintech, cybersecurity, conversational AI, digital risk management and machine learning-powered log analytics and IoT solutions for industrial automation. These are the top three trends that will drive innovation.


  1. The advent of 5G will be a serious driver for AI-driven IoT. Many players in the technology industry and business community invest in building edge-computing environments to support the reality of AI-driven IoT. These environments will create new use-cases that rely on intelligent, instantaneous and autonomous decision-making, with low latency, high bandwidth capabilities bringing us to a world where the internet will work on your behalf – without even having to ask.
  2. Blockchain will make a strong impact outside of cryptocurrency. The world is quickly moving beyond Bitcoin to adopt enterprise-distributed indelible ledgers, setting the stage for a transformation that is exponentially bigger than the impact cryptocurrency has had on blockchain in finance.
  3. Hardware-based composable architecture will have less short-term potential against commodity hardware and software-based infrastructure virtualisation. Continued improvements in commodity hardware performance, software-based virtualisation, and micro-service software architectures will eliminate much of the performance advantage of proprietary hardware-based composable architectures, relegating them to niche datacenter roles soon.


With data forming the bedrock on which all these innovations of the future will be built, it will become imperative for more organisations to adopt DDI to ensure improved productivity that will positively impact not just them, but the country’s economy in the long run.


(Madhurima Agarwal is Director - Engineering Programs and Leader - NetApp Excellerator at NetApp)

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